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ROME: The Italian government is to cooperate is the formation of five bio territories in Tunisia.

The areas are in different bioclimatic zones of the country and will encourage micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, utilizing natural resources and know-how in the process.

The five pilot areas are in the regions of Hazoua, Majel Bel Abbes, Kesra, Haouaria and Sejnane.

These territories will be the first examples of sustainable development in Africa, and are to be set up under a cooperation agreement signed at the Italian Embassy in Tunis. The project is due to last 18 months.

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government’s Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and the Italian branch of the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies are to fund and advise on the projects’ implementation following a request from the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries.

Italian Ambassador to Tunisia Lorenzo Fanara said: “This is another sign of Italy’s commitment to supporting Tunisia in creating an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development model.

“It aims to promote the development of local initiatives to support productive, entrepreneurial and innovative activities in five specific areas.

“Preserving and enhancing natural resources with a view to finding a new balance between human communities and territories is an Italian priority in terms of development cooperation.”

The AICS said: “The creation of bio territories in Tunisia, the first ones in the African continent, represents a qualitative leap in the governance of rural development policies and strategies.”

Dr. Annamaria Meligrana, from the AICS, said the development would contribute to the “economic and sustainable revitalization of Tunisia.”

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